Slaving over a hot stove while everyone else enjoys Christmas Day is no fun.
So who better to turn to for advice than the celebrity chefs?
This raised fears over food safety, as a stuffed turkey is harder to defrost properly. But Prue was right all along, of course – it’s perfectly safe as long as it’s defrosted and cooked properly.
So we asked some of her fellow cooks to share their tips for making a fabulous Christmas feast, and reveal their recipes for a calm and stress-free holiday.
Heston Blumenthal’s turkey
Remove the wing tips, and take out the wishbone by running a sharp knife along the bone – this will aide with carving later.
Brine the turkey on the night of Christmas Eve by dissolving 800g of salt in 10 litres of water and placing the bird in it.
Cover and place it in the bottom shelf of the fridge overnight, then rinse it in cold water. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting tray. Chop some vegetables – carrots, leeks, onions – and some herbs and add to the bottom of the tray.
Add the neck and wing tips and put in the oven. The vegetables at the bottom of the tray, with the turkey juices, neck and wing tips, will form a stock that can make a fantastic gravy.
Alex Hollywood’s mince pies
Mince pies are delicious served with whipped cream (with a little icing sugar added), and the juice and zest of an orange.
Add walnuts, crushed pecans or chocolate chips to the mincemeat before filling the pies.
The pastry can be made days ahead, kept in the fridge and then rolled out and filled ready for when your guests arrive.
Jamie Oliver’s roast potatoes
Parboil your potatoes and dress them with goose fat, garlic and seasoning a day in advance.
Simply cover and keep in a cool place until you’re ready to roast.
Once drained, leave to steam dry for two minutes – this will help the fat to stick to the potatoes.
Give the colander a few light shakes to chuff up the edges. After roasting for one hour at 180ºC, gently half-squash each potato with a fish slice or masher – this will increase the surface area to help create super-crisp spuds.
Place the potatoes back in the oven and continue roasting until they’re golden. The result will be game-changing!
- For the range of Christmas full recipes visit jamieoliver.com.
Lorraine chef Dean Edwards’ pigs in blankets
This sticky maple-glazed pigs in blankets recipe serves four people.
You will need 12 good-quality chipolata sausages, six rashers of smoked streaky bacon, and five to six sprigs of rosemary. For the glaze – two tablespoons of maple syrup, one of sherry vinegar, and one of wholegrain mustard.
Cut the smoked streaky rashers in half, then wrap each of the chipolatas and a small sprig of rosemary in a piece of the bacon.
Place the maple glaze ingredients into a bowl and whisk together, then set it aside. Pop the sausages on to a foil-lined baking tray then place in a preheated oven set at 190c/gas mark five for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and pour over the maple glaze, making sure they are well coated.
Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.
The Hairy Bikers’ stuffing
You simply can’t have turkey without stuffing.
We use two different types. In the neck we use an apricot and almond stuffing, and for the cavity a chestnut and sage version.
One is slightly sweeter than the other, but they both compliment the turkey’s flavour perfectly. Plus, the stuffings are a great addition to a fry-up of leftovers!
Jean-Christophe Novelli’s sprouts
Remove three or four of the dry outside leaves from each sprout.
Cut an X into the stalk end.
Plunge into hot water or, if you have time, steam until Brussels are almost cooked. Drain sprouts and place into a microwaveable container.
Add a drizzle of olive oil or rapeseed oil, a small pinch of sugar, pepper, garlic and nutmeg.
Cover container with cling film and leave to infuse until the Brussels have finished cooking. Microwave for 40-50 seconds.